Akira Nishino urges Japan not to take Poland lightly

Akira Nishino urges Japan not to take Poland lightly

Starting at this year's tournament, disciplinary records - known as fair play - were added by Federation Internationale de Football Association as a tiebreaker.

Russian Federation is holding its first time ever edition of the FIFA World Cup, which kicked off in Moscow with a spectacular opening show at the Luzhniki Stadium on the night of June 14.

When Bednarek scored, Japan was facing elimination.

A first half of little drama concluded to a chorus of whistles from the crowd and little changed following the restart.

Japan are the only Asian side to reach the knockout stages of the World Cup finals since they and South Korea did so when they hosted the tournament in 2002.

But Japan scarcely threatened in Volgograd as Shinji Kagawa and Takashi Inui started on the bench and they were instead dependent on results elsewhere after Jan Bednarek's fine strike won the game for Poland.

Japan took on Poland this afternoon in their final game of group play at the Volgograd Stadium in one of the more freaky matches of the World Cup so far.

All thoughts of pushing for an equaliser were banished, and the booing from the Volgograd terraces became increasingly vociferous as Japan hogged the ball at the back in a match that descended into a lifeless training drill.

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The final 20 minutes of the match was played out by Japanese defenders stroking uncontested passes, with Poland clearly content to head home with their first and only victory in the bag.

Nevertheless, it was the Eagles who came closest to scoring before half time, Kamil Grosicki's header being brilliantly saved by Eiji Kawashima in the 32nd minute.

The country selected 11 host cities to be the venues for the matches of the 2018 World Cup and they are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara. Of course, we did not want to allow Poland to keep the winning score, we tried to attack.

Indeed Japan substitute Makoto Hasebe, who came on with eight minutes remaining, made a "card" gesture to his team-mates to make it clear they were through as it stood.

Japan faces Group G victor Belgium on Monday in Rostov-on-Don. If FIFA had not added the fair play tiebreaker for this World Cup, the two teams would have had to draw lots to determine which would advance. Nor has deciding the position in groups on fair play proved popular.

"The Japanese team has been prepared very well from the mentality point of view", Nawalka said. "We fought as much as we could but that was all we could do, bearing in mind the problems we had before the World Cup in terms of injuries and form".

A 93rd-minute own goal by the unfortunate keeper Yann Sommer from a Bryan Ruiz penalty gave the central American side a deserved 2-2 draw on a night of late drama in Nizhny Novgorod.

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